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RFID News Roundup

NIST study makes the case for RFID forensic evidence management ••• Austrian psychiatric clinic protects staff, patients via Ekahau RTLS ••• Checkpoint Systems donates 650,000 RFID tags to University of Memphis' AutoID Lab ••• Atlas RFID adds new functionality to Jovix ••• MEPS Real-Time intros RFID-enabled smart drawers for health-care industry ••• Fujitsu Labs develops compact passive UHF RFID tag for metal, ID cards ••• GuestDriven, Estimote deliver beacon solution to hotel industry.
By Beth Bacheldor
Dec 11, 2014

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: NIST; Ekahau; University of Memphis, Checkpoint Systems; Atlas RFID; MEPS Real-Time; Fujitsu Laboratories; GuestDriven, and Estimote.

NIST Study Makes the Case for RFID Forensic Evidence Management

A newly published report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) makes the case that using radio frequency identification systems can be an effective means of tracking and managing forensic evidence—and, if well implemented, can pay back initial setup costs within approximately two years.

According to NIST, although some law-enforcement agencies are employing bar-coded labels to improve forensic evidence tracking, storage and retrieval processes, very few have implemented RFID due to concerns regarding startup costs, the technology's reliability and the current lack of relevant RFID standards for property and evidence handling. The report, titled "RFID Technology in Forensic Evidence Management, An Assessment of Barriers, Benefits, and Costs," is designed to help agencies better understand these issues and properly assess the pros and cons of RFID evidence management.

The NIST report explores whether RFID technology can produce measurable benefits and a positive return on the funds invested in a new system. Various factors can affect the payback. For example, solutions that track and manage larger inventories of evidence (100,000 items or more) will recoup costs more quickly than those handling smaller inventories. However, if multiple jurisdictions share a system's costs, the payback period can be shorter.

The report includes an overview of automated identification technology (AIT)—focusing primarily on RFID and bar-code technologies—and how they work. It describes the types of RFID systems available (passive, active and battery-assisted), their price ranges, and the components necessary for a complete system. The report also details the barriers that agencies may encounter, and provides a series of successful RFID management case studies, including examples from the pharmaceutical and retail industries, as well as one law-enforcement agency that has made the switch: the Netherlands Forensics Institute.

The report is the result of a NIST-funded study on AIT. The Technical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation, cosponsored by NIST and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), commissioned the study and report, which can be downloaded for free at www.nist.gov/manuscript-publication-search.cfm?pub_id=916133.

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